Some reviews to tide you over until the results are announced. I ranked them in the order listed (and Lichen Throat included where I would've ranked them had they been eligible).
The Lowest Bitter: That opening chord progression sounds new for you. Don't often hear those kind of dark modulations in your tracks. The cadence and melody of the first verse, on the other hand, sounds like it was lifted from one of your other songs. The clapping snare sound has a satisfying crunch and I love how you glitch it up slightly throughout. Great builds/swells and drops. I'd like to hear how this could've been if you had more time, as it definitely ends too abruptly. What's here is great, but structurally it feels underdeveloped.
Stacking Theory: This is a great tune, but as Sailing Magpie pointed out to me, the verse is a rip-off of MGMT's "Time to Pretend" and it's difficult to unhear that once it's been pointed out. That aside, I love the vocal synthing and chilled beats in the verse and prechorus. The grungey switch up is dramatic and I guess it works, but the mellow bits are by far my favourite. Those tremolo swells of guitar are so dreamy.
Adam Adamant: I feel this is set in the Futurama world which gains +84 arbitrary points from this judge. This is exactly the step up in your game that you needed to survive this round I think. The entirely synth-based approach give this a tightness that was missing from your guitar-based stuff. If you're able to incorporate your rock sounds while maintaining the production quality I think that will give you an edge in the future. The song itself is melodic and melancholic with a good bounce, and the various arrangement elements are good at holding my interest throughout the track. I like that you went for a future angle instead of the past, there are some obvious pitfalls with this challenge and for my money you've navigated it nicely. The chorus has a weird charm, it's catchy while being a bit silly at the same time (in a way that I enjoy), just listing the robot names and their inane tasks. The overall vibe is dystopian ridiculousness, but it's fun. Thumbs up.
Elks of the Economy: I was a bit worried when I first listened to this as I thought the quality of music coming from you was in freefall. Thankfully repeated listens on headphones reveals subtle pleasures hidden in this track. I find it amusing that you've made your narratives exactly 500 years apart; challenge box ticked. This has a bit of a Prefab Sprout feel about it. It's full of cheesy quirks in the arrangement which bely a nuanced songwriting acumen. The dynamic shifts between the verses and choruses give a good sense of movement. I can't say if I like the chord progressions per se, but there's something compelling about the song that keeps my intrigue growing with each listen. There are loads of tiny guitar licks hiding behind the vocals that add a nice colour. The more I listen to this the more I think it's a very good song.
Glennny: Another superbly written song. As you know, I like to take credit for all of your good writing choices, and I'm pleased with how you've taken to heart my demand for more lyrical wordplay. The rhymes within rhymes that are layered upon each other here are a feast. Some of them are hilarious, but almost all of them fit the meter perfectly and you've managed to deliver an impressive number of syllables within the choruses. Once again, the key suits your voice well and that really benefits this song in my book. Musically, the opening acoustic jangles are ear candy for me, so I was a tiny bit disappointed that you leant on chugging chords for most of the rest of the song, although they sound good too. I will be rewarding inventive switch-ups in the arrangements (provided they benefit the song dynamic) so that's something to think about. Also the mix seems a little cluttered and hot, perhaps rolling the levels back a little bit might help it breathe. That aside I enjoyed this a lot.
The Alleviators: A decent effort which doesn't raise the game from your previous entries. The vocals are probably the best bit. The arrangement is fine, but where I usually love your guitars I feel that the clean guitars here in particular feel a bit slapdash and ever-so-slightly unpleasant in the mix. I doubt it will be a huge problem this round, but when you do more picky, arpeggiated guitar lines I think they fit with your style better, and getting them to sit in the mix better will become more necessary as the competition progresses. The pace of this one is a little ponderous, but for the most part you pull it off with some nicely delivered melodies.
Vom Vorton: I didn't realise you'd started drumming, kudos for that. The jangling guitars here are a treat - an easy way to my heart as well you know. The gear shift after the first chorus is cool. Everything here is nice and good and stuff. There is just something rather middle of the road about its pleasant strumminess. I originally had this above Glennny, but then I listened to the 2 songs next to each other and his was just more hooky, enjoyable and inventive in its way (by a nose, mind you). It doesn't have the sing-along chorus of Adam or the hidden subtleties of Elks. I do like it but it's still not quite transcending the "decent local band" vibes you've been throwing out so far.
Lunkhead: A well-timed stylistic shift from last week's entry. This sounds like the sound of a man who has more free time on his hands by virtue of not having to be involved in making three songs a week (i.e. it sounds like Moss Palace minus Erin). Super slick production, and plenty of jazzy flourishes in the mix. It's an incredibly pleasant listen which drifts by like a cloud on a sunny day. By which I mean it doesn't leave a lasting impression once it's finished. I forced myself through a couple of extra listens for the sake of fairness, but beyond the obvious aesthetic qualities, the spine of the song is slightly light. On one hand I wondered if I was being a bit harsh and you deserved a higher ranking, but then I thought if it wasn't so well executed then there's a good chance it would plummet, so this ranking feels about right.
Lichen Throat: You are an increasingly frustrating prospect, as the progressions and guitar riffs you've served up here get my mouth watering for a C86 New Wave anthem that so many of the more proficient musicians here seem either incapable of, or uninterested in, delivering. It may all be MIDI but that opening guitar and bass line evoke equal parts Stone Roses and Joy Division, with a suitable drenching in reverb that creates a great atmosphere in the track. I know you know your vocals aren't great so it seems pointless covering old ground, but I am tempted to rip off your music here to see if I can take this in the direction I want it to go; i.e. epic sing-along choruses and wistful harmonies. Still, the positives here are easily enough to lift you above much of the dross in this round.
Nick Soma: Some classic 20th century songwriting here. I can imagine this coming from one of the many bands in the rock n roll hall of fame. It's well written I guess, and the performance is decent, allowing the words and melodies to come through clearly. It feels weird ranking you below Lichen Throat, and you might be wondering how that happened, but I would prefer to hear a song with flaws that excited me in some way, and your song has no flaws but nothing particularly exciting either.
Jon Porobil: Sounds like you've learned nothing from everyone's "too much reverb" comments last week. I'm standing in front of the band but for some reason the singer's off in the corner of the hall somewhere. Once I got over that, I fairly well enjoyed this peppy little rocker which sounds like it's straight out of Vom Vorton's songbook. Nice "Woo!".
BSS: The idea of a BC/AD narrative was originally mooted for this challenge and I vetoed it on the basis there would be loads of songs about the ancient Egyptians. So you've tripped the QI obvious answer buzzer which warrants an eye-roll from me. This is tight and well produced, but in spite of it's upbeat pace it feels languid and there's no part of the song which gets its hooks into my brain. There's nothing wrong with it at all. Yet I am uninspired.
Cavedwellers: This is sitting very comfortably in R.E.M. territory here, which should be a massive plus except for the fact that the best thing (among numerous other good things) about R.E.M. is the lyrics and this set of lyrics is far from Stipe-ian. Like BSS, there's nothing wrong with this except I get bored when I listen to it.
Boffo Yux Dudes: This is fairly well executed, but unfortunately a well-executed tuneless dirge is still a tuneless dirge. I'm not really a fan of the story lyrics because there's far too many lines that sound overly literal, and the lack of abstraction or metaphor makes the song dry and colourless.
Virgo Power: When your vocal comes in it makes me understand why people always used to (and sometimes still) balk at my vocal takes. It's just jarring. Lo-fi doom rock isn't my bag at all. I'm trying to imagine this with professional production and played/sung perfectly and I don't think I'd like it much more. The depressing overtones and mediocre execution prove a fatal combination.
Mandibles: I edited this review since reading the explanation about the drum track. That is an unfortunate turn of events, and I understand of course you didn't leave things so late by choice, but I guess them's the breaks in the harsh world of Nur Ein. I had to actually turn it off while I typed the original review as it was so chaotic that I couldn't think straight. The first 13 seconds of it I really liked. The layers of twinkling guitars are really pretty and right up my alley, which is partly what was so disappointing about what followed. Sadly the song isn't good enough to cut through the chaos, but I doubt anything could distract from this total disaster of an arrangement. The correct mix does make infinitely more sense. I'm sorry to say I already submitted my rankings before hearing it.